Happy Birthday: Metta World Peace, Cabrera, Bennett, Vollmer

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37 years ago, on this day, Metta World Peace, the American basketball player who represented the Los Angeles Lakers in National Basketball Association (NBA), was born. He was formerly known as Ron Artest, before changing his name in September 2011.

Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world,” he said.

World Peace became one of NBA’s best defenders, clinching the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004. He even went on to be named an NBA All-Star and earned All-NBA honors.

Here are the other stars who are celebrating:

1985: Asdrubal Cabrera, Venezuelan baseball player for the MLB’s New York Mets and two-time All-Star (31).

1985: Michael Bennett, American defensive lineman for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and 2015 Pro Bowler (31).

1987: Dana Vollmer, American competitive swimmer, Olympic gold winner, former world record holder (29).

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On this day in 2014: Sharma hits 264 to smash ODI record

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Sharma’s performance remains perched at the top for ODI scores.

It’s a rare feat when a single player outscores the opposition, but that’s what India’s Rohit Sharma managed to do when he clobbered 264 runs against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens on this day two years ago.

The ODI score set the record for the highest individual mark in the format, surpassing Sharma’s own 209, Virender Sehwag’s 219 and the previous record of 229 by Belinda Clark.

India would win easily as Sri Lanka managed just 251 between them, but the story was Sharma, who scored at a run-a-ball rate to reach the century before firing off the remaining 164 in just 73 balls.

Sharma’s impressive performance remains perched at the top for ODI scores.

Here’s the other sporting events that happened on this day:

1954: Great Britain beat France 16-12 to win the first edition of the Rugby League World Cup.

1992: Riddick Bowe defeats Evander Holyfield in 12 rounds for the heavy-weight boxing title.

1994: Michael Schumacher wins the Formula One title by one point.

2014: Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout win the MLB’s MVP awards for the NL and AL, respectively.

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Sharjah Ladies Duathlon paves way for hijabi women in sport

Hiba Khan 12/11/2016
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Sharjah Ladies' Duathlon was a big hit.

The Sharjah Ladies’ Duathlon was a real test for female fitness enthusiasts as they gathered at Al Qassimia University in Sharjah for the first edition of the event during the wee hours of Friday morning.

The women-only showpiece – comprised of two 2.5km separated by a 9km cycle – was graced by 142 participants of different age groups and cultural backgrounds who were all able to take part while completely at ease with or without their hijab, as they vied for the first-place cash prize of Dh7000 in individual races and Dh9000 in group races.

Nada Al Naqbi, director of Women Sports Department and Khawla Al Serkal, director general of SLC, were amongst the many spirited participants of the event along with, Manal Rostom, a well-known Egyptian public figure and a Nike Run Club coach, who also runs a social media group called ‘Surviving Hijab’ that has over 400,000 female members.

Through her social media group, Rostom aims to provide support to young Muslim girls to manage the social pressures that come along with donning a hijab.

She has used her influence to encourage more women to take up sports and to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Contrary to the preconceived notions surrounding hijab, Rostom never viewed it as a hindrance that kept her from doing the things she loved, namely running, cycling and mountain climbing.

While Rostom never let the hijab stop her from pursuing her sporting dreams, she acknowledges that events like the Sharjah Ladies’ Duathlon can give many women the initial push to overcome their boundaries in a safe and comfortable environment.

“Hijabi women or women who cover will really appreciate events like this because as much as sometimes we do dress appropriately for an event, it’s nothing like when you are actually racing with no men around,” Rostom told Sport360.

The 37-year-old Egyptian believes that an all-women environment helps improve a runner’s performance, as it takes off the pressure of constantly worrying about propriety and just focus solely on the race.

“You can cycle in shorts or you’re running with your hair (exposed) or you’re wearing a sleeveless top… if you cover, you would understand what this event actually means for us and it also impacts your performance. So for example, you can actually go faster and feel less hot, I mean we are all hot at the end of the day, but an event like this really helps improve performance,” she added.

Suhaira Tahar Al Aani, a 54-year-old hijab-clad Iraqi duathlete and a proud grandmother, was also in attendance to set an example for her daughters to become more athletic and active in sports.

“It is a lovely event and a nice break from my routine. I am a mother of three and my eldest daughter just gave birth so I am a grandmother now. My daughters are not like me, there is something wrong with young kids today, they keep staring at their phones and are too lazy, but I am trying to change them,” she said with a soft chuckle.

Al Aani and Rostom were just two of the many inspirational women who made the event the success that it was.

Organisers already have high hopes and expectations for next year’s second edition.

Al Naqbi expressed her great pleasure at the turnout and hopes to double it next year.

“I am so happy to have all these women at the event. The mothers brought their daughters along and participated in the event and made it a huge success. Next year, we are hoping to create more awareness and hold practice rounds for the participants before bringing them out for the final event,” she said.

She added: “In my experience, while I was running, I was having difficulty in catching my breath, so it would be a good thing to raise awareness and encourage them to train properly, and then participate and perform well.”

The women-only event witnessed 142 participants of different age groups and cultural backgrounds.

The women-only event witnessed 142 participants of different age groups and cultural backgrounds.

For Al Serkal, the duathlon was a litmus-test to help her understand and manage the layout of a specialised sports event like this, which is why she hoped for a small turnout to help her and her team manage and examine the safety measures on a small scale first.

“The initiative came from our team that we would like to have first of its kind event, sports event in Sharjah, especially dedicated to ladies,” said Al Serkal.

“My major concern is, I didn’t want this event to have a lot of participants because it is a very specialised event and safety measures are very important. So the number of people that came this year was very good and I am very happy with it.”

After the immense success of the Sharjah Ladies’ Duathlon, SLC team is ardently looking forward to the fourth edition of the Sharjah Ladies’ Run that is scheduled to be held in the first quarter of 2017, also under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah.

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